Legion helps veterans land jobs with DHS

American Legion Post 771 in Gurnee, Ill., in partnership with Illinois Department of Employment Securities hosted a veterans job fair Aug. 6 with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

More than 250 recently separated veterans from states as far away as New York, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina and Pennsylvania attended the job fair. Of those 250, there were 183 who completed the screen for an interview. Twenty of those in attendance landed jobs with DHs.

American Legion Department of Illinois Assistant Adjutant, Gary Jenson, said, "This was the first career fair like this for me. I feel very proud that The American Legion was a part of this."

Meanwhile, planning continues for upcoming job fairs in New York, New Jersey, Kansas and Texas. To see if there are upcoming job fairs in your area, click here.  

In other news:

Credentialing program: The Economic Division met on Aug. 5 with National Governors Association (NGA) staff, to discuss a pilot program that will test and evaluate strategies to create accelerated credentialing processes for separating servicemembers in high demand occupations. Credentials attainment refers to licensure or the attainment of certification necessary for licensure in a particular occupation. Working together, we plan on outlining strategies to address barriers to licensing and certification in the following occupations: truck drivers (transportation), EMT/paramedics (medical), telecommunication equipment installers/repairers (telecommunication), and line worker/power plant operator/engineer (energy).

Working with DOE: The Economic Division on Aug. 6 met with Department of Energy (DOE) staff to begin working on creating a framework to build a "better buildings workforce" (residential, commercial, industrial and federal) for energy sector employment. The primary goal of this program is to engage the services of an industry nonprofit organization to develop voluntary national guidelines for commercial advanced energy professionals that will increase the quality and dependability of the commercial buildings workforce. The American Legion – the only veterans service organization involved – is working with DOE, National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), SOLID and others in identifying possible matchups between the military and private sector.

Commander testimony: The National Commander testifies before a Joint Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs committees hearing Sept. 10 beginning at 10:15 a.m. in Room G-50 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. All the Legion Family is invited to attend.

House OKs screening measure: On Aug. 1, the Senate passed by unanimous consent an amended version of H.R. 1344, the Helping Heroes Fly Act. The amended bill was returned to the House, where it was quickly approved, sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature.

This measure will update the Wounded Warriors Screening Program established in 2005 to let disabled veterans and severely injured service members request expedited screening from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The bill directs the assistant secretary of Homeland Security for TSA to develop ways of easing airport screenings. Nothing in the bill prohibits more security screening of a service member if law enforcement officials deem it necessary.

As amended by the Senate, the bill – unlike the House version – would not allow expedited screening for family members accompanying veterans and service members. Under the amendment by Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, family members could still contact the TSA to make arrangements for the military personnel covered by the program.

Transportation bill: The Legislative staff has approached Sen. Mark Pryor’s office with reference to his possibly sponsoring a Senate version of Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Cheri Bustos’ of Illinois legislation titled the Fairness to Veterans Infrastructure Investment Act (H.R. 2906). The Fitzpatrick-Bustos bill would provide veterans with access to existing contracting preferences authorized for transportation projects.

Claims: During the week ending Aug. 2, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals reached dispositions on 132 American Legion represented appeals. Of those dispositions, 80.0 percent of the denials were overturned with outcomes favorable to the veteran. In 33 cases, the board granted benefits outright after considering The American Legion’s arguments. In 73 cases, The American Legion was able to point out errors in the development of the veteran’s claims which mandated corrective action under the law. Of the total number of dispositions, 20 (15.2 percent) were outright denials.

POW/MIA families updated: Last week, National Security staff attended an annual briefing by Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) on Korean War/Cold War cases. Two briefings are held annually in Washington, D.C. One is for Vietnam War families and the other is for Korean and Cold War families.

At these briefings, family members have the opportunity to meet with numerous civilian and military specialists of the government whose expertise includes foreign government negotiation, formulation of national policy, remains recovery and identification, DNA science, archival research and intelligence analysis.

POW/MIA Update

• 2nd Lt. Valorie L. Pollard and Sgt. Dominick J. Licari, U. S. Army Air Forces, were lost on March 13, 1944, in northeastern New Guinea. They were accounted for on July 19 and July 17.

• Pfc. Jonathan R. Posey Jr., U.S. Marine Corps, L Battery, 11th Artillery Regiment, 1st Marine Division was lost on Dec. 2, 1950, during the fighting withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir. He was accounted for on June 19, 2013. He will be buried with full military honors on Aug. 12, 2013, at Arlington National Cemetery.

• Sgt. 1st Class William Robinson, U.S. Army, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 31st Regimental Combat Team, was lost on Dec. 12, 1950, near Hagaru-ri, North Korea. He was accounted for on June 17, 2013. He was buried with full military honors on Aug. 7, 2013, in Indiantown Gap, Pa.